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Man Breaks Into University Of Wyoming Apartment, Flees

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The University of Wyoming Police Department is on the lookout for a man who broke into a university apartment late Monday night, according to an alert sent out by UW around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

A man was seen coming into the apartment through a kitchen window. When confronted, he left the area on foot.

He’s described as a white man, around 40 years old, 5-foot-9 with a slightly heavy build and dirty blond hair. He was wearing a dark shirt and dark trucker hat.

The suspect hasn’t been identified, and the report is under investigation by the UW Police Department.

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the Laramie Police Department (307-721-2526) or UWPD (307-766-5179).

As a safety precaution, it is recommended that students always keep all windows and doors locked.

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38 Coronavirus Cases Found Among University Of Wyoming Students, Staff

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Nearly 40 cases of the coronavirus have been discovered among students and staff at the University of Wyoming.

The university reported there were 38 active cases among the two groups. Two involved students living in residence halls and they have now been moved to isolation housing.

The affected areas in the residence halls have been thoroughly cleaned. The other 36 cases involve students and employees living off campus, some in communities outside of Laramie.

All of them are isolating at their homes. Eight people who had close contact with the two students in the residence halls are now in quarantine housing for 14 days.

Vault Health, the company conducting testing for the university, has processed 8,260 tests.

Here is the breakdown of the new cases, in addition to the two students in the residence halls:

  • Six are students self-isolating in other cities and states, including Casper, Riverton, Sheridan, Colorado, New Jersey and South Dakota.
  • Nine are students in Laramie living in off-campus housing who have had no presence on campus.
  • Six are UW employees, now isolating at home. The facilities where they work have been cleaned according to current disinfection protocols.
  • Four were “past positives” who have recovered.
  • Five are individuals the university is attempting to contact.

The total of UW-related coronavirus cases since the pandemic began is 50. Twelve of the individuals have recovered.

In Albany County, 85 total cases have been reported as of Aug. 16.

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University Of Wyoming To Do Phased Reopening For Fall Semester

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Instead of convening for in-person classes on Aug. 24, the University of Wyoming will instead conduct a phased reopening plan for the fall semester.

Classes will begin as planned on Aug. 24, but they will all be held virtually for the first few weeks of the semester, and the student population in Laramie will be capped for the time being. By mid-September, some classes will go back to in-person instruction and more students will be allowed on campus, according to a release shared by the university.

In late September, all students will be allowed back on campus for in-person instruction for eight weeks of courses. After Thanksgiving break, classes will again switch back to online instruction.

“We understand that this is a significant change for our students and families, complicating decisions regarding travel and other issues,” President Ed Seidel said in the release. “However, this approach greatly increases the likelihood of our students having an opportunity for an on-campus experience in the safest manner possible, and avoiding an outbreak during the semester that would cause an even bigger disruption.”

All UW students and employees are being required to take free coronavirus saliva tests before returning to campus.

The university also is working to develop a comprehensive surveillance testing program that will involve employees and students on campus being tested twice a week during the semester. That program isn’t expected to be fully operational until Sept. 28, one of the reasons the semester will start Aug. 24 with all courses online.

Random-sample testing will take place Aug. 24 through Sept. 25 for students and employees who are on campus.

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SOURCES: Mountain West Cancels All Fall Sports; Will Look Toward Spring

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By Cody Tucker, 7220 Sports

LARAMIE — The 124th season of Wyoming football will have to wait.
The Mountain West Conference Monday canceled all fall sports due to concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, sources told

“(We) will likely postpone until spring,” a source told 7220 Sports today at 10:34 a.m. is also reporting that the league will not play this fall.

The MWC joins the Mid-American Conference as the only two Group of Five conferences to cancel the season thus far.

The Cowboy football team was scheduled to begin fall training camp Tuesday. The other fall sports — volleyball, cross country and women’s soccer — were also getting underway in Laramie.

It was also reported Monday that the Big Ten Conference would be shutting things down this fall, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The conference has not made an official announcement as of this writing, but is expected to be the first Power-5 league to pull the plug due to COVID-19 concerns.

UConn was the first FBS team to call it quits. Old Dominion didn’t wait for Conference USA to say the word, they announced Monday morning that they would also forgo a fall season.

With the MWC announcement, 26 FBS programs have already called it quits.

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Wyoming Supreme Court Denies University Of Wyoming Gun Case Appeal

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Supreme Court will not hear a challenge to the University of Wyoming’s ability to regulate firearms on its property, a divided court has decided.

Justices, in a 3-2 decision, declined to review the case of Lyle Williams, who was charged in 2018 with trespass for carrying a firearm into the university’s conference center in violation of UW rules.

As is traditional, the order issued by the Supreme Court on Tuesday did not disclose the reasons why the justices chose not to review the case. However, it did note that Chief Justice Michael Davis and Justice Keith Kautz believed Williams’ petition for a review of a district court judge’s previous ruling met the standards for Supreme Court action.

The state’s rules for appeals to the Supreme Court say that for a request for review to be granted, the issue to be reviewed must involve “a controlling question of law as to which there are substantial bases for difference of opinion …”

The order means the decision of District Judge Tori Kricken upholding the university’s ability to regulate firearms on its property remains in place.

The case stems from a citation issued to Williams, an Evanston resident, in 2018 while attending the Wyoming Republican Party’s convention in Laramie. The convention was held in the UW conference center.

Williams, who was carrying a handgun in the center, was asked by university police to leave the building because of UW rules banning firearms on university property and was cited for trespass, a misdemeanor.

Williams challenged the citation on the grounds that state law forbids local governments from regulating firearms.

But Kricken ruled that the university is an “alter ego” of the state and as such can regulate firearms on its property. Kricken also rejected Williams’ arguments that the rule is contrary to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, finding that there are limits to the amendment’s reach and that universities must be able to regulate firearms in “sensitive places” to protect students.

“Simply stated, the regulation and prohibition of the possession of firearms in sensitive places falls outside the scope of the Second Amendment,” she wrote.

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UW Puts More Than 800 Courses Online

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To execute its plan for the fall 2020 semester, the University of Wyoming has made adjustments related to the delivery method for some courses and reduction of density in classrooms.

As indicated in the “Return to Campus” plan approved by the UW Board of Trustees, the university is moving certain large lecture course sections to be delivered completely online. Students are being notified of these changes via their UW email accounts.

While more than 800 courses have moved to fully online delivery this fall, 65 percent of UW’s courses — more than 2,000 — currently have in-person components. The 35 percent of courses currently scheduled to be delivered completely online is up from the historical figure of 15 percent, primarily due to physical distancing requirements stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We knew there would be a higher percentage of online-only courses than usual this fall, but we’re pleased that our students will still have mostly in-person opportunities. We have given priority to first-time students, as well as seniors and graduate students, in preserving these in-person experiences,” says Kyle Moore, associate vice provost for enrollment management. “At the same time, because of the increased number of courses offered online, students who aren’t comfortable being on campus should have plenty of opportunity to continue progressing toward their degrees.”

Additionally, the university has been working on assigning new room capacities to classrooms to accommodate social distancing requirements. These new seating capacities will allow for 6 feet of spacing for students and instructors. The reduced density will mean the experience for face-to-face classes this fall will include practices such as students rotating between spending time in the classroom and engaging in the course virtually on other days.

“Each instructor is building this rotation appropriate to their course needs and the number of students in the course,” says Steve Barrett, associate vice provost for undergraduate education.

Students will continue to have access to advising, tutoring and other services in both in-person and online formats.

“These services will be available for all students, no matter their preferred mode,” Barrett says. “Because of the unusual circumstances we’re in now, our approach is to provide maximum flexibility for everyone.”

Students are encouraged to log in to their WyoRecords accounts to learn how their schedules may be affected by these changes.

For more information about UW’s fall return plan, go to

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UW Poll: Growing Number of Wyomingites Worried About Coronavirus Spread

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A growing number of people surveyed by the University of Wyoming are worried about the spread of coronavirus in Wyoming.

The university’s Survey Research Center reported its July 14 survey of 504 Wyoming residents showed that 35.7% of those questioned are very or fairly anxious about the spread of the illness in Wyoming, an increase of 10 percentage points from the center’s last coronavirus-related survey in June.

Another 30.4% of those questioned said they were somewhat anxious, a decline of 3.1 percentage points, while 33.9% said they were not worried at all, a decline of almost 7 percentage points from June.

Among those responding to the survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%, 41.7% said they felt that the “worst is yet to come” in Wyoming from the virus, an increase of 14.1 percentage points from June.

Almost 23% said they felt the virus is not likely to be a major problem, a decline of 3.5 points from June.

However, almost half of those questioned, 49.4%, also said they felt confident Wyoming’s health care system can handle the virus.

The survey was the latest of a series conducted by the Survey Research Center to gauge the opinions of Wyoming’s residents on issues related to coronavirus. Those questioned came from the center’s “WyoSpeaks” panel of state residents who have indicated a willingness to respond to the center’s online surveys.

On other issues, those answering the survey’s questions seemed about evenly split over the idea of visiting outdoor events that drew up to 250 people. About 45% said they would be extremely or somewhat comfortable attending such events, while 43.3% said they would be somewhat or extremely uncomfortable.

When the number of attendees exceeds 250, 48.8% said they would be uncomfortable attending an outdoor event, while 40.4% said they would be comfortable. 

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UW Poll: Most Wyomingites Support Mandatory Mask Ordinance

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Support among Wyoming residents for most measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus continued to decline in July, according to a survey conducted by the University of Wyoming.

However, the survey conducted by the UW’s Survey and Analysis Center also showed that more than half of those questioned would support a rule that would make the use of face masks mandatory for people visiting indoor public places.

The survey of 504 Wyoming residents conducted on July 14 and 15, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%, showed that fewer people in July supported actions such as closing public schools, daycare centers and restaurants than supported similar actions in June.

The closure of public schools was supported by 36.6% in July, a decline of more than 15 percentage points from June, while the closure of daycare centers was backed by 33.8%, a drop of more than 13 points since June. The closure of restaurants and bars was backed by only 27%, a decline of more than 5 points from June.

The one action supported by a growing number of those questioned was for limiting public gatherings, which was supported by 61.2% of those questioned in July, an increase of 3.9 percentage points from June.

Of those questioned, 56.4% said they would strongly or somewhat support a face mask requirement for indoor public places, while 35.7% said they would strongly or somewhat oppose such a requirement.

Support was much lower for the idea of requiring a face mask for people visiting outdoor public places. The survey showed 55.6% somewhat or strongly opposed of such an ordinance, while 34.7% would strongly or somewhat support it.

The survey also showed that those questioned are using face masks more often themselves.Of those questioned, 29.2% said in the last two weeks, they have always worn a face mask when visiting indoor public places, an increase from 25.2% asked the same question on June 8.

The number who reported they often or occasionally wear face masks indoors also went up slightly to 34.4%, compared to 29.2% in June.

Those who said they rarely or never wore masks when visiting indoor public places declined from 42.7% to 33.5%.

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University Of Wyoming Sees First Coronavirus Case

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The University of Wyoming has now seen its first confirmed case of the coronavirus, it announced Friday.

In a news release, the university said the case involves an employee who believes he contracted the virus at a private appointment off campus. The individual hasn’t been on campus since July 2 and has been self-isolating since July 3, when he began feeling ill.

The employee is now recovering at home and there is little campus exposure risk. Known contacts have been notified and UW officials are working with the Wyoming Department of Health.

“I think we all knew it would be just a matter of time before COVID-19 was detected among the UW community,” President Ed Seidel said in the news release. “We have taken proactive steps to minimize the spread of the virus on campus, and we would ask everyone now to be even more vigilant.”

Although a number of UW students were among the 39 other positive cases reported in Albany County as of Thursday, none were reported to be living in UW housing or working on campus.

University employees and students are required to wear face coverings while on UW-owned property or when conducting university business or activities.

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Wyoming Sees Surge In Miller Moths

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Poor wildflower growing conditions on Wyoming’s prairies are pushing miller moths into communities in search of food, resulting in the flocks of the insects being seen throughout the Front Range, a University of Wyoming extension entomologist said.

Reports have flooded in from all over Wyoming, Colorado and Montana about the influx of miller moths, a type of moth that’s abundant in the western region.

Miller moths are usually gray or dark brown in color, with a wing span of 1.5 to 2 inches. On their wings, the moths have fine scales that easily rub off.

UW entomologist Scott Schell told Cowboy State Daily that a wet spring and summer last year, combined with a drier winter and spring of this year, caused fewer wildflowers to produce on the prairie and near sagebrush steppes. Without flowers to feed on, the moths will come to towns and areas with a lot of water for food instead.

Schell’s heard reports of the moths from all over the state, particularly in southeast Wyoming, Niobrara County, Sublette County and the Big Horn Basin.

While the moths are a nuisance when in a home, they generally don’t cause any damage to buildings or furnishings, Schell said, because the moths don’t lay eggs in a house.

The moths are attracted to certain types of light, as they use the moon and other celestial lights to guide them on their flights.

To keep moths outside, Schell recommended sealing obvious openings, turning off unnecessary lights and switching to non-attractive yellow lights to keep the moths away.

He also suggested vacuuming the moths and releasing them outside or setting a trap by using small nightlights in various outlets and keeping a small dish of soapy water beneath each one. Moths will be attracted to the light, fall into the water and die.

Many birds, beetles and hunting wasps eat miller moths. Bears also feast on miller moths, especially the grizzlies in Yellowstone.

“The moths shelter under rocks and come out at night to feed on wildflowers, so during the day, the grizzlies will flip the rocks over and eat all the moths they find,” Schell said. “The millers are a tremendous source of nutrition for bears.”

Although miller moths have been taking over the Front Range for the last few weeks, Schell did say the end was in sight. The moths are migrating toward the high country and should be gone in the next couple weeks.

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